Victim's Rights

Victims of crime have rights that are provided for both under the Constitution and statues of Ohio.

The Ohio constitution state that victims of crime are entitled to fairness, dignity and respect in the criminal justice system. Moreover, victims have the right to receive appropriate notice, information, access and protection and to pplay a meaningful role in the criminal justice process. This, however, does not include the right to appeal or modify a court's decision. It also does not include the right to any compensation.

Right to Have Representation
A victim may appoint a family member or other representative to attend any court proceedings. This right is particularly important for elderly and juvenile victims.
Right to Have Information
The victim is entitled to information about how to reach the investigating authority and the prosecutor. The prosecutor must notify the victim of the name of the accused and the crime charged, the case number, the procedural steps and the victim's right to attend the proceedings and other important information. The victim is also entitled to know whether a person of interest has been arrested and given a way to check if that person is being released.
Right to Have Property Protected
If a victim's property has been seized, the victim has the right to have it safely kept and returned when it is no longer needed as evidence.
Right to Be Heard
The right of the victim to be heard is very important. The court or prosecutor must confer with the victim before a plea bargain, amendment, dismissal or trial. The judge should note on the record any time this dosen't happen and the reason such as where the victim cannot be reached or does not wish to be heard.
Right to Be Free From Intimidation
Except for grand jury proceedings, the victim has the right to attend all court proceedings, except in the unusual situation that such attendance would compromise the defendant's right to a fair trial. The victim has the right to know the outcome of the case and the important right to be heard at the time of sentencing.
Right to Give Impact Statement
The victim of a crime in which the defendant harmed or attempted to harm the victim can give a victim impact statement. That can be done in writing or orally. The statement can include such matter as an explanation of any physical or psychological harm to the victim; an explanation of any harm to the victim's property; request for restitution for monetary harm; and a recommendation of the appropriate sanctions to be applied. The victim's statement is confidential and is not public record.
Right Not to Be Fired
The victim can't be fired for missing work to attend court proceedings. However, the employer does not have to pay for the work missed.
Continuing Right to Know
On request, the victim must is to be informed of the sentence imposed and any motions for early release or appeals filed. The victim must be notified if the defendant escapes.
Compensation Under the Victims of Crime Compensation Program
There are certain crimes defined in Ohio law for which the victims can receive compensation for their economic losses. In order to recover, the victim must report the crime to law enforcment within 72 hours and cooperate fully in the investigation and prosecution of the crime. The offender does not need to be caught or convicted for the victim to be eligible for compensation. The victim must file a claim within 2 years of the date of the crime. Minors have until their 20th birthday.
They include:
  • Persons injured in violent crime or trying to stop a crime or apprehend a criminal
  • A dependent of a deceased victim
  • Person who has paid the expenses of the victim
  • Person who is legally authorized to act for the victim

For Additional Information Contact

Attorney General's Crime Victims Services
Phone: 614-466-5610
Visit: www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov

Ohio Crime Victim Justice Center
Phone: 614-848-8500
Visit: www.ocvjc.org

Ohio Vine (Offender Custody Status / Victim Notice)
Phone: 800-770-0192
Visit: www.vinelink.com